For a week, I’ve done nothing but read, watch movies, and play with my niece & nephew. It’s been a delicious week, but it’s always a slap in the face trying to come back to work after completely forgetting that I’m a teacher.
Last night, I had the strangest urge to be almost anything but my current self. I wanted to have the same values and beliefs I have now, but I wanted to be angry and bitter about them. I wanted to wear scary makeup, shave my head, yell and swear a lot, break things, spray paint public spaces and be everything BUT a responsible adult.
I didn’t do anything, of course, other than eat sushi and watch another movie (though it was an angry activist movie…). But I do feel a little shudder of leftover rebellion.
The longer I spend in TFA, the more I wonder whether what we’re doing isn’t just a little bit silly. It seems obvious to me that the best part of TFA is the conviction it breeds in CMs and alumni, and the worst part is the fact that on average, CMs are working our asses off to become not-really-all-that-remarkable teachers. I don’t think my two years are inching America any closer to One Day—even if I feel like TFA as an organization (as an alumni factory, or a force in the education scene) might be.
We hear often that fixing education is going to require completely “Rethinking Schools”—but I often wonder whether we should say “Rethinking Teaching” instead (By this, I mean that I don’t think the traditional classroom setup or standards or standardized tests are hurting very much, but I do think teachers are almost completely incapacitated and unable to make these pieces of education work for kids). If that’s the case, though, what the hell am I doing within the existing system? Proving that I can do this job almost as well as all those education majors can? Sometimes it feels like that’s what we’re here for.
I want to work for change alongside TFA people. But I don’t know if I want to spend my energy plugging okay teachers into a system that chews them up and spits them out, hoping for the day when someone comes up with a better idea and there are enough alumni and other like-minded souls around to support it.
Not sure exactly how this relates to my sudden urge to deface public property with graphic messages about inequality in education. Maybe because I feel like that way I could at least point a bold finger at the problem, instead of working myself to the bone but missing the point?